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126 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrifyingly real...
The litmus test for the realism in this one - watched it with a group of 12-18 year old girls and they all said it reflected the reality of being teenagers, with all the actual pressures and stresses of their high school and social lives. This is, quite simply, one of the most honest (and painful) movies about adolescence that I've ever seen..and it was written by a...
Published on January 29, 2004 by K. Corn

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sex, drugs, and catfights!
I remember hearing about this movie when it first came out and reading an interview with the creator Nikki Reed. I thought it sounded stupid and melodramatic, so I avoided it. 'Sex, drugs, and catfights!' the headline had read. So a couple years later I decided what the heck, I'll rent it away. I knew it was going to be depressing and dramatic and I was right. It was. It...
Published on July 16, 2005 by Megzi


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126 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrifyingly real..., January 29, 2004
This review is from: Thirteen (DVD)
The litmus test for the realism in this one - watched it with a group of 12-18 year old girls and they all said it reflected the reality of being teenagers, with all the actual pressures and stresses of their high school and social lives. This is, quite simply, one of the most honest (and painful) movies about adolescence that I've ever seen..and it was written by a teenager who also stars in the movie...amazing!
At the start of the movie, Tracy (played by Evan Rachel Wood) is a good student with a not-so-great family life. Her mother is struggling to put food on the table and under a lot of pressure to hold family and home together.
So it makes sense that Tracy would be drawn to "the coolest girl in school", Evie, a wild rebel with a penchant for danger. Evie gladly takes Tracy under her wings, often pushing her into Tracy into situations she isn't prepared for (parents should be aware that some of the scenes are graphic, including sexuality and nudity).
It is impressive that this film is so utterly believable and the sensational and often shocking scenes make sense in the context of Tracy and Evie's lives. Adding to the strength of this film is Holly Hunter's strong performance as a mother who is desperate to save her daughter but isn't quite sharp enough to find the right path. One of the best films of the year, bar none!
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56 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thirteen as told by a thirteen year old, January 9, 2004
This review is from: Thirteen (DVD)
While reading other customer reviews, I was stunned by the tendency of cynical college types to dismiss this movie as "eager to be hip" and "exploitive garbage". If one has not been through an experience, rejecting it when it is displayed must be easy. However, for those of us like myself, who are thirteen years old, this movie was shockingly real. And who better to be the judge of that than a thirteen year old, rather than a pretentious college student, now too cool to believe in teen "angst" as they call it.
Tracy's (the remarkable Evan Rachel Wood) descent into the world of drugs, casual sex, and smiling lies is a descent I have seen far too often in real life. Some reviewers were suspicious of the quickness of her progression into this world. However, one must remember that these are middle schoolers, not twenty-somethings, and the overwhelming insecurity of most 13 year olds allows them to change their images daily. Also, Tracy is not necessarily a "good girl" when the movie begins. She already smokes, and seems to feel stuck in her life both at school and at home. This is evident in scenes she shares with her friends, and a particular scene with her mother (Holly Hunter in an incredible performance), where despite her best efforts, Tracy cannot get the attention she needs from her mother, who is wrapped up in most aspects of her own life, especially romantically.
Thirteen is not for those who wish to shut their eyes to what is truly happening to our culture and society. However, I would recommend that every parent see Thirteen with their child to know the reality of the environment their child is growing up around. If you are a parent, do not believe for a moment that the experiences of Tracy are experiences that take place everywhere else. Whether you know it or not, this movie does indeed hit close to home.
A few more notes before I end this review. Evan Rachel Wood deserves an Oscar for her harrowing performance as Tracy, Holly Hunter is better than I have ever seen her, and Nikki Reed is inspiringly truthful in both her writing and her performance as a character she had not intended to play. Catherine Hardwicke, as the director, uses her own emotions and vibrant colors to convey the truths hidden behind the masks each character wears. The obsessive need of the two girls for each other, as a replacement for lack of love in other aspects of their lives, is perhaps the most honest part of this movie.
Whether you enjoy it or not, Thirteen is a movie that must be seen. More than a social commentary, Thirteen is almost a mirror of reality.
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT...SORT OF, February 6, 2004
This review is from: Thirteen (DVD)
Tracy is a sweet yet troubled teen who meets the alluring bad girl Evie and falls into a life of drugs sex and crime but this is not some dreadful after school special version of teen issues with cute and tidy resolutions. Thirteen is a bold, gut-wrenching film about the crumbling American family and the current generation of overexposure, MTV, reality shows, and disillusionment. Tracy is astonishingly portrayed by Evan Rachel Wood who gives such an amazing performance it should take child-acting to new heights. Evie is portrayed by Nikki Reed (who also co-penned the script) is a vibrant screen newcomer. The Oscar nominated Holly Hunter ,as Mel, is brilliant as a bohemian, alcoholic single mom who watches her daughter Tracy descend into self-destruction right before her eyes. The director Catherine Hardwicke directs the film with relentless, edgy appeal giving the film it's power and drive.
Although most critics give the film massive acclaim, some have shuddered at the shocking horror of the explicit nature of the teen lifestyles of Thirteen and many perhaps deny the possible accuracy of the film. "Are kids really that bad?" No, not all kids are drug-users dealers hypersexed or criminals but one must admit with a generation raised on MTV and Hollywood scandal , where many kids have to go to school in fear if their classmates may kill them, a generation where many believe oral sex isn't as intimate as kissing, or being a "pimp" or a "thug" is the true aspiration of life...the mood of the film is an unflinching cinematic opus to a generation sadly spiralling out of control.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Touched a nerve, May 8, 2004
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This review is from: Thirteen (DVD)
When I asked my parents to rent this movie for me, they were hesitant. "Are you sure you want to see it?" the asked.
I did see it and I'm glad. Painfully true, Thirteen made me remember a period in my life when I was angry, depressed and wild. Pretty much everything that happened to Tracy happened to me. Shoplifting, drinking, drugs, selfharm, promiscuity......I felt like I understood Tracy, inside out. Before that I played with dolls and vowed to never even smoke a cigarette.
That all happened when I was fourteen. Now I'm seventeen, and all that's left to remind me of that period in my life is a few faint scars, a pile of stolen CDs and the knowledge that the teenage years are not a golden cheerleader dream; they are frightening, exciting, horrible and wonderful all at the same time. This movie embodies the very essence of adolecence, as I remember it. A masterpiece.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sex, drugs, and catfights!, July 16, 2005
This review is from: Thirteen (DVD)
I remember hearing about this movie when it first came out and reading an interview with the creator Nikki Reed. I thought it sounded stupid and melodramatic, so I avoided it. 'Sex, drugs, and catfights!' the headline had read. So a couple years later I decided what the heck, I'll rent it away. I knew it was going to be depressing and dramatic and I was right. It was. It was pretty realistic, yes this stuff does happen to *gasp* even thirteen year-olds, I've seen it with my own two eyes. But the thing is, the thirteen year-olds who are doing this don't even represent half the population of young teens. Most young teens don't act like this, it's only a few groups. So I just wanted to point that out to some people, and settle a compromise between the people who say 'it never happens' and the people who say 'this is completely normal for any young teen'. Anyway on to the movie. The shooting is pretty much low-budget, but that's what you'd expect from an indie film. Not a problem, if you're a fan of indie movies you should be used to this. My only problem with the story was in the beginning, where she becomes friends with Evie. One day Evie and her friend insult her, and the next day all Tracy has to do is wear cool clothes and suddenly Evie lets her hang out with her? It didn't seem very realistic, like the beginning of Evie and Tracy's relationship didn't seem developed enough in the beginning. And another thing I thought was weird with the movie: the two girls were always hanging out with 'bad' guys and all these 'bad' guys just happened to be black. A little weird, isn't that kind of a negative sterotype? It was like they were at a 'ghetto' school yet there wasn't even any black females or white guys, it was all just black guys and white girls. I don't know that part didn't seem realistic, like the director wanted some ethnic diversity but she didn't show it in a very realistic manner. Other than that, the movie wasn't too bad. If you enjoy the bad girl spiralling out-of-control movies like 'Girl, Interrupted' then this movie is for you.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It will stay with you, October 13, 2005
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This review is from: Thirteen (DVD)
When I first caught this movie on cable I was flipping channels and the ambience immediately attracted me. The use of dark colors is beautiful and gives you the feel of watching a home movie almost. The underlying emotion and attitude was so strong that I could tell right away that it was going to have a profound message. I was compelled to watch it.

It was astonishing in its honesty. So many things about both of the girls struck a chord with me. I felt like I could relate completely in my own teenage experiences.

After a while I stopped relating and was suddenly terrified. I'm not a teenager anymore. These things are not ok. They're dangerous and it scares the heck out of me that not only did I do some of these things, but as a parent, my own children could be doing these things... and they might not be as lucky or as smart as I was to get away from them.

What scares me even more about this film is that if I had seen it as a teenager I would have thought it was cool. I might even have tried some of the things I hadn't already or been encouraged to do more of what I had. I would not have the experience I have now to realize the severe emotional and physical reprecussions that engaging in these types of activity can cause.

All in all I strongly recommend you see it, espeically if you are a parent. I think it would be a really good idea to watch and discuss it with your kids. Obviously not every kid is susceptible to these ideas, but when did quality time ever hurt?
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing and unforgettable!, March 6, 2004
This review is from: Thirteen (DVD)
A young girl livinig with a single mother who's doing her best to raise two kids, Tracy is thrilled to start seventh grade. However, after getting there, she discovers that she isn't nearly as cool or as popular as she wants to be.
Abandoning her friends, Tracy (superbly portrayed by Evan Rachel Wood) befriends one of the popular girls, Evie (played with finesse by Nikki Reed). That is just the start of things, as Tracy's life develops into a downard spiral of drugs, sex, and crime...all to gain popularity (which, of course, in the end eludes her).
Holly Hunter, as Tracy's mother, is outstanding. Everybody is perfectly cast; at times, it's hard to tell that this is a movie. Which, in a way, is disturbing. This is not a film for the squeamish; it's realistic, and it's brutally honest. However, it is a good example of teen peer pressure (I'm a teen, so I'd know) and how some people can't cope with it.
It's been a week or two since I've seen THIRTEEN, but I still can't stop thinking about it. It's gritty, it's engaging, and it's real--you may flinch, you may cry, you may gasp "oh my God!", but you'll come away with a sense that you've been in the mind of a troubled teenage girl, and are the better for it. A classic film.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Spoilers but you should read this parents and kids!, July 24, 2006
This review is from: Thirteen (DVD)
I am almost 15 and have done tons of things I regret just like Tracy does in this movie. I saw this movie and realized that was me! Kids before you think about drugs and having sex watch this movie and see what can happen to you. I lost all my friends and my parents dont talk to me anymore because of the things I have done and it shouldnt happen to you! This is a great movies and you might be a little akward watching this movie with your parent(s) but you need to stick through it and watch it! Please consider what I said and to tell the truth it might be wonderful doing bad things but after a while you realize it is pointless! I am on the path of recovery but its a hard path please dont follow it like I did!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every parent's nightmare about how good girls go bad, January 30, 2004
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This review is from: Thirteen (DVD)
Evan Rachel Wood continues to make her bid to be the Jodie Foster of her generation in "Thirteen," a harrowing film about a good little girl gone horribly bad. Wood is Tracy, a seventh grader who lives with her single mom (Holly Hunter), a hairdresser who works out of the home. Tracy dreams of being cool, just like Evie (Nikki Reed), and when the opportunity comes to ingratiate herself with the cool girls, Tracy takes it and quickly moves from shoplifting, low-rise jeans and hoochie tops to drugs, body piercings, bad boys, oral sex, and worse. Evie even moves into Tracy's home, and it becomes clear that this is a troubled girl who has made shoplifting, drugs, and sex part of her daily routine.
The script for "Thirteen" was written in six days by director Catherine Hardwicke and Nikki Reed. Hardwicke had dated Reed's divorced dad and having known Nikki since she was a little girl was distressed when the kid turned 13 and starting having problems (problems like what happens to Tracy in this film). Hardwicke suggested Nikki keep a journal and intervened in the young girl's life, taking her to museums and exposing her to the larger world. However, it was Nikki's journey through the dark side that serves as the basis for this film.
The result is a story that retains its rawness even as we are mesmerized by the performances of the three female leads. For every "cool" scene, such as when Evie dressed for a date by taking off her skirt, moving her tank top down as a skirt and adding a new blouse, there are scenes that no kid is going to want to emulate, as when Tracy starts cutting herself. Meanwhile, her mother, a recovering alcoholic, finds herself helpless to do anything about her daughter's death spiral once she finally notices the radical changes that Tracy has undergone. It is not that Melanie does not care, but that she is powerless. Having been abandoned by her husband, Melanie finds her daughter has no use for her either.
The big question with "Thirteen" is whether young teenage girls who get to watch this deservedly R-rated film would understand that it was a warning or whether they would just filter the horror story through the prism of their adolescent notions of coolness. Hardwicke follows Tracy's descent but never buys into the idea it is a good thing. This is made clear by the opening scene where the two girls, while doing drugs, have made their faces numb so that they do not feel anything and starting hitting each other in the face, laughing hysterically all the time. The point of the opening scene is clear: Tracy does not know what she is doing to herself.
Hardwicke won the Director's Award at the Sundance Film Festival, Hunter is up for an Oscar, and Wood was nominated for a Golden Globe. "Entertainment Weekly" argued that Wood should receive serious consideration to become the youngest nominee the Best Actress Oscar in history and surprisingly that indeed happen this year, except that the nomination went to Keisha Castle-Hughes for "Whale Rider." Special mention should be made of Jeremy Sisto's performance as Brady, Melanie's boyfriend and another recovering alcoholic, who manages to play a pivotal role in the climax by providing the push Melanie needs to finally deal with Tracy. The "bad boyfriend" is a stereotypical role in so many films, that it is a shock to see one be different in such a subtle way.
"Thirteen" is a brutally honest film, the sort that you might never see again because once was enough, thank you very much. The emotional conclusion is powerful, but I would not say it qualifies as being truly cathartic. If there is a lesson here for parents it would simply be that when your children undergo radical transformations, of any type and in any direction, pay attention, because it could be too late sooner than you think.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "thirteen.....very real", August 19, 2006
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Thirteen (DVD)
"Thirteen" is basically the story of a good girl gone bad. Yes, I could summerize it that way, but I won't, as it is more complicated than that. Tracy(Evan-Rachel Wood)is 13, and sweet, a successful student and all around nice person. =. She lives with her struggling single mother Melanie(Holly Hunter, in an oscar-nominated role)and teenage brother Mason(Brady Corbet). Tracy & her mom have a great relationship. But Tracy is obviously insecure, and all it takes is one small comment from the most popular girl in her grade, Evie(Nikki Reed, who co-wrote the script) about Tracie's socks. Tracy changes her wardrobe in an attempt for approval; Evie postively comments her...One thing leads to another and soon Tracy & Evie are inseperable; like sisters. Evie practically inserts herself into Tracy's family and takes Tracy under her wing, in doing this, Tracy gets pulled into a world of (the usual) sex, drugs, and out of control behavior. Melanie has no idea how to handle this; all she can do is stand by and watch her daughter spiral out of control. Evie and Tracy roam wild, with Evie basically living at Tracy's house, there's no dividing them, and this only fuels Tracy's anger towards her exasperated mother. "Thirteen" is a dark and gritty look at an insecure girl's spiral out of control. It offers no answers or resolutions to problems, it doesn't seek to preach; just to show. The film features dynamic performances; the always terrific Hunter is nothing short of amazing; you feel her pain as a mother who has absolutely no idea of what to do to help her daughter. The up-and-comer Wood is sure to attract extra attention for this phenomenal portrayel of the damaged Tracy; she and Hunter are incredibly believable as a mother and daughter. We also see a break-out performance by Nikki Reed as Evie, who is desperate for some kind of motherly love and attention, she hits all the right notes as a very destructive young girl. Also good are supporting actors Jeremy Sisto, as Mel's boyfirend whom Tracy despises; Brady Corbet as Tracy's slightly older surfer brother; and Deborah kara Unger as Evie's unattentive guardian-cousin Brooke. "Thirteen" is the powerful tale of a girl's breakdown into self-destruction. Led by great direction and terrific performances. "Thirteen" is heart breaking, nerve-shattering, shocking, and ,most of all, real. -Alex Barone
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Thirteen
Thirteen by Catherine Hardwicke (DVD - 2004)
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